Community weighing in on funeral home crematorium in Kitchener
The City of Kitchener heard from the public Tuesday night about a proposal for a crematorium at the Henry Walser Funeral Home.
The owners want to expand the Frederick Street property.
Residents shared concerns at a meeting about the possible demolition of nearby homes, how the project would impact property values and whether the cremation would be noticeable.
Some residents who live nearby say they didn't know installing a crematorium was part of that proposal.
However, the city has previously said that notices were sent to property owners within 120 metres of the funeral home.
If approved, the project would see an addition built onto one of the current parking lots. That would require the demolition of a nearby home currently owned by Henry Walser, the funeral home’s owner, in order to make room for new parking spaces.
Two other houses could also be impacted, but Walser said that is not expected.
“We have no plans to demolish 44 and 48 Becker. It’s just the first one we need to do to accommodate parking,” said Walser.
Officials said the cremation is controlled by an automated computer system, with minimal human interaction. The process involves burning at temperatures high enough for complete combustion, which avoids smoke and odour.
“(Henry) Walser Funeral Home has experienced some significant growth over the past number of years, and the proposed expansions are pretty fundamental for continued operation of their building,” said Kristen Barrisalde a senior planner with the GSP Group.
The Henry Walser Funeral Home currently uses Parkview Crematorium in Waterloo for cremations, but the owner would like to bring the work onto his property.
“Every time we have to use another facility, we're sort of compromised to whatever their days of operation are,” said Walser.
Walser said the home provides cremation services for about 700 families a year.
“My vision is to be able to handle cremation, to suit and support the needs of a particular family,” Walser said.
Planners said the addition would look similar to the current funeral home.
The city is encouraging anyone who hasn’t commented to contact them before January 15, 2022.
Staff will present all the feedback to the planning committee. The committee will then make a recommendation to city council for their decision.